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Looking to buy a home right now? Here are 5 tips from a housing expert.

An expert weighs in with her best tips.

TAMPA, Fla. — Right now, the Tampa Bay area is in the heart of a hot housing market, meaning if you want to sell, you should be able to do it quickly and for a good price. 

That also means you want to buy a home, you'll be up against a ton of competition.

"Homes are flying off the market in seven days, which is 10 days faster than they were a year ago and twice as fast as the national average," said Amanda Pendleton, a Zillow home trends expert. 

She says buyers in Tampa need to be prepared to work fast.

"You're going to have to be ready to jump right? So you're going to want to have all your financial ducks in a row before you even enter a competitive market like Tampa's," Pendleton said. 

These are her top tips for potential homebuyers:

1. Get pre-approved for a home loan. It requires a more extensive financial check and lets sellers know you're ready to go.

2. Become tech-savvy.  Pendleton says, "You want to use real estate technology to give yourself a speed advantage so virtual 3-D home tours and digital floor plans can give you a really immersive experience of the home from the comfort of your living room. And that's going to help you whittle down your options a lot faster."

3. Make your best offer first. This is important in case there are multiple offers.

4. Use an experienced realtor who has dealt with competitive situations.

5. Don't delay. If you need to buy a home, follow those tips and do it now. The historically low-interest rates may not last much longer and prices are still going up!

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